The Fort Lee community is invited to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a special program set for Jan. 16, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., in the Lee Theater. The observance is open to the public.
The guest speaker this year is Rev. Vodricka L. Epps, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Hopewell. A native of High Point, N.C, Epps is a retired master sergeant who served 22 years in the Army, concluding in 2013. He has served as the 11th pastor at Mount Calvary since July 2016.
Also planned for the program is a dramatic reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, recited by a Soldier from the 262nd Quartermaster Battalion. The civil rights leader delivered the iconic remarks Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C., where he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. An estimated 250,000 were on hand to hear the speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
The national movement for an annual observance recognizing King’s many achievements began in 1968, the same year he was assassinated in Memphis. Former President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, however, it wasn’t celebrated nationally until three years later.
“A Day On, Not a Day Off” has been the long-running theme of the MLK observance. Special ceremonies and other activities will be held at military installations around the world to recognize the legacy of King’s teachings that focused on the timeless values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, respect, humility and service. The Army remains mindful of the endeavor to promote diversity, foster inclusive behavior and demonstrate respect for others.
Off-post community members interested in attending the observance are reminded that a valid government or state-issued photo ID is required for anyone 18 years of age or older to access to the installation.
Hosting this year’s program at Fort Lee is the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade and the Installation Equal Opportunity Office. For further information, contact Capt. Justin Kaman, at 804-734-6572.